Tag Archives: vegetarian

Oops, I did it again (and stuffed acorn squash)

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Oh.  Oops.  I said that thing about the writing… you know, that I was going to do it and keep it up and not let so much time go by between postings.

Sigh.  I guess I lied a little bit.

So.  What’s new?  Well, Brian is running and talking (and talking back).  Eighteen months flew by.  Strange, how the middle of the night marathon rocking sessions make it seem like time is going by so slowly, then BAM.  He’s -doing that think that parents don’t mention because they are afraid they will jinx it and make them stop doing that thing.  You know, the quiet, all night thing in their crib…  that thing!  But, anyway.  Moving on.

It’s fall.  Crunchy leaves, chilly nights, unexpectedly warm(ish) afternoons.  Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin.  Oh, pumpkin.

Pumpkin and I have a long-standing love-affair.  But, that’s a story for another day.

Today, my story is about a dish that smells supremely fall, looks absolutely fantastic, and tastes delicious.

Eric wanted stuffed peppers for dinner, and I’m not really into the slimy green pepper with meat inside.  Gimme my veggies, please.  I had an acorn squash so I improvised.  So, to end my (latest) blogging hiatus, I present to you:

Apple and Barley Stuffed Acorn Squash
(Serves 2 as a side, 1 as a meal)

Ingredients
1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 small mcintosh apple, peeled and diced
1/4 onion, diced
A combination of spices, you choose! (I used ginger, marjoram, garlic, and basil)
Leftover barley (or prepare fresh 1/4 cup barley and 3/4 cup water, simmered 20 minutes and drained)
Olive oil
Protein of choice for a meal- chick peas, gardein chicken strips, tofu

Preheat oven to 350*

1. Rub the inside of the squash with a little olive oil and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion, apple, and your choice of spices.
3. Mix the apple mixture with the barley, then spoon it into the squash.
4. Bake squash, covered, for about an hour.  Uncover.
5. Top with cheddar cheese, if desired, and bake another 15-20 minutes.
6. Serve with your protein choice if it’s the main dish.

Brian kept asking for more!

Enjoy!

Cardamom Orange Scones

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Cardamom, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

In all seriousness, people.  Cardamom and I have a love affair going back years.  I love the smell of it, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy- like a big fluffy sweater right out of the dryer in January.

I’ve used it in everything.  Pancakes, muffins, cinnamon rolls, banana bread, curry, tea, coffee.  If I can make it, I try to add cardamom at least once.

And now for some sad news: I tipped my jar of fairly expensive cardamom right out of the cupboard and it fell to the ground with a SMASH.  Cardamom everywhere.

Confession time:  I cleaned up the mess, but saved some of the cardamom.  Yes, it hit the floor.  And I cooked with it.  Gasp.  Someone call the authorities, I used a spice that fell on my (freshly steam cleaned) floor.

Because I wanted to use it rather than throw it out, I had to come up with something quick.

I chose scones.

Obviously, the lot of you that gasped and muttered and whispered to each other about how “Scones aren’t quick!  That’s crazy!” have never made scones.

Sure, you can make it complicated with heavy cream and cutting butter into the ingredients and blah blah blah.  Ain’t no mama got time for that!  Try this recipe on for size.  If I could come up with this while my toddler napped, then they have to be quick.

If you’re feeling particularly naughty, top these with a the Rum Icing recipe at the bottom.  If you’re enjoying them for breakfast, skip the icing.  Or don’t.  Your call.

Cardamom Orange Scones (With Rum Icing)

Ingredients (Makes 8 wedges)scones
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar (less if you like a more traditional scone)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a little salt
6 tablespoons butter, very cold or frozen
1 egg
1/2 cup milk of choice (I use whole)
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Orange zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 400*

1. Mix your flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices into a large bowl.
2. Using a cheese grater, grate the hard butter into the bowl with the dry ingredients and toss it all together.  Let the butter stay in shreds, it makes everything flaky and delicious.  (Alternatively, cut the cold butter into the flour using a pastry cutter.)
3. Crack the egg into a measuring cup, then measure your milk into it to the 1/2 cup line.  Put your orange extract into the cup and whisk it all together.
4. Pour your wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Stir until it is all mixed in, then knead briefly until it all comes together.  Sprinkle more flour into the dough if it seems too sticky and unmanageable.
5.  Shape your dough into a thick disk shape, place on a buttered (or otherwise greased) baking sheet and cut into 8 wedges most of the way through the dough, leaving the dough still connected.
6. Bake at 400* for 12 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350* for another 8-10 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned on top.

If you’re feeling particularly naughty, top them with this Rum Icing from King Arthur Flour.

Rum Icing
(Adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour)

1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons rum
~1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream

Blend softened butter and sugar, then add rum a tablespoon at a time.  This is pretty thick, so if you prefer an icing for drizzling (I do), thin with heavy cream or milk a little at a time until it’s to your desired consistency.  Or, skip the butter and use 1 tablespoon of milk, adding a little at a time until you get your desired consistency.

Naturally Sweet Toddler Muffins (With Veggies!)

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Wow, I suddenly have a toddler.  Tantrums, and picky eating, and independence- oh my!

My sweet little baby went from goo-goo-gaa-gaa to “I want to go outside right now and nothing can stop me, not even this huge thunderstorm that’s currently over our heads!” (Which comes out as “WAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” because he is only one and he can’t actually talk like that yet.  But trust me, I got the translation loud and clear.)

So, since I’ve got no advice when it comes to tantrums and hitting and all of that fun stuff, I’ll tackle the one thing I’m good at dealing with.

Picky eating.

I’ve got a husband that thinks vegetables are poison.  Anything that isn’t a slab of beef is a snack.  Breakfast must include more bacon than an army of grown men should need.  It really amuses me that this carnivore married me, the health-conscious vegetarian.

Well, apparently my kiddo that used to eat his meal, then mine, then my husband’s, has decided that he doesn’t want to eat anything.

Until, that is, I made these tasty toddler muffins.  You’ve all seen the toddler muffin recipes all over the internet.  You know, the ones where the second ingredient is brown sugar, then the third is regular sugar.  Yeah, no thanks.  I’m not pumping THAT into my kid.

Disclaimer: I’m not one of those “NO sugar ever” moms, but I don’t see any point in putting sugar in something that’s supposed to be healthy for my kid.  So I limit it as much as possible.  If you give your kid sugar, cool.  The good news is that these muffins are pretty sweet on their own- so you don’t need any!

Naturally Sweet Toddler Muffins (With Veggies!)
(Adapted from Seeking Shade)

Ingredients: (Makes 12 muffins)
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of oatmeal, uncooked
1/4 cup of coconut oil (other oil or even butter would work, too)
1/2 cup of no sugar added applesauce
2 jars of baby bananas, or 2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp of ground ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp of salt (optional, but it helps the baking soda work)

Mix and Match additions (pick a few, or all!)
2 carrots, shredded
1 zucchini, shredded
1 cup pureed spinach or kale
1 apple, diced small or shredded
1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
1 cup strawberries, diced or sliced, fresh or frozen
or any other fruits and veggies you see fit!
(I used carrots, apple, and blueberries this time around.)

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Mix your oil, applesauce, and eggs together, then add your mix and match fruits and veggies to the wet ingredient.
4. Mix your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients, careful not to over mix.  This can cause them to collapse or be tough.
5. Spoon muffin batter into greased muffin tins, fill 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.  Let muffins cool before removing them from the muffin tin.

These can be easily frozen, then popped into the microwave to defrost when you want one.  Or, if you’ve got a teether on your hands, hand them a frozen one to gnaw.  Muffin-cicle!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

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Baby food jars.  Holy crap. We have been given enough jarred baby food to last through the zombie apocalypse, and then some.  Jar, upon jar, upon jar.  It’s intense.

Normally, this would be awesome.  Except, we chose to embrace our (read: my) crunchy ways and follow the baby-led weaning method of feeding our little piggy.  This means no mush, no purees, goop, and no spoons.  Just flavor, texture, and fun (messy) times.

We started Brian on solid food at 6 months old, as recommended when following a baby-led weaning method.  He started with avocado, banana, sweet potato, and whatever else he felt like stealing directly from my plate.  We quickly upped the flavor and introduced him to some of our favorite things: curry, stir fry, frittata, pasta.  Here is Brian’s first taste of sushi.  Oh, the delicious possibilities!

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We weren’t so concerned with allergies and we aren’t afraid of flavor, so we just went for it.

But, I digress. Jarred baby food.  What the heck do you do with a ton of jarred baby food? Put it in adult food, of course! I’ve experimented with making banana bread, fruity muffins (with hidden veggies!), omelettes, and cake using the jarred foods.  It works pretty well.  Usually…

Throw part of a jar of sweet potato or carrots into your eggs the next time you scramble them.  Trust me.  it makes them kind of puffy and delicious!  Jarred banana or apple replaces sugar in a recipe fairly well, which makes it easy to give the kiddo some sugar-free treats, which means I get to let him snack guilt-free.  (Mommy guilt.  It’s something special.  Just wait, I’m sure I’ll post about it soon enough.)

I got down and dirty with the experimentation the other night, though.  We wanted gnocchi, but I didn’t have any potatoes.  So I thought I’d try sweet potato gnocchi.  Oops.  No sweet potato either. Earth’s Best to the rescue!!  I threw some jarred sweet potato in with flour, popped in some flavor, stirred, kneaded, rolled, cut, and cooked.  Easy, peasy.  And absolutely delicious.  Nobody would even be able to tell I used jars of baby food to make it.  And the mini-human and husband devoured it.  I call that a win.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
With pesto

3 (4 ounce) jars of sweet potato baby food (Or you can use real mashed sweet potato, I won’t tell!)
2 to 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg
1/4 cup cottage or ricotta cheese
1/4 fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
Nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and pepper to taste

Beat the egg in a large bowl, then add the sweet potato, spices, and cheeses.  Mix well.

Add the flour a little at a time to your liquid.  You want it to form a soft dough that’s not too sticky.  You might not use all of your flour, or you might need more.

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface, flour your hands, and grab a chunk of dough.  Roll it out like a little play-doh snake, then chop it into little pillows of gnocchi goodness with a pastry cutter or knife.  I tend to go for about 1/2 an inch per piece, but it’s all about preference.

If you want the classic gnocchi look, press the gnocchi pillow onto the tines of a fork, then roll it up and off of the fork.  This step is not necessary, but it’s fun!  Place the finished gnocchi onto a cookie sheet with a dusting of flour or corn meal.  Continue until you’ve used up all of the dough.

If you’re not ready to cook it, put it in the fridge.  It will last this way for a while but it will dry out so I always try to cook it within 24 hours.

When you’re ready to cook the gnocchi, boil a large pot of water with some olive oil and salt, if desired. Drop the gnocchi in, boil them in small batches to make sure they don’t stick.  They are done when they float to the top; use a slotted spoon to lift them from the water and drop them into a colander to drain while you finish boiling the rest. Toss with some brown butter or pesto and cheese of choice, serve hot.  Yummy.

Serves 4

Try with Kale-Chickpea Pesto for a healthy boost. (Recipe coming  soon!)

Rustic Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Tart

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Mmm, pie crust.  Tasty, tasty pie crust.  I loves me some pie crust!  I’ll eat that stuff raw, right off of the counter after I’ve rolled it out.  I’ve been known to snag the extra bits of crust that people usually throw away just to eat them raw.  There’s something awesome about the cold water/flour/butter mixture.  And don’t even get me started on when you get a little grain of salt that tingles on your tongue before you crunch it away.

Okay, I’m weird.  But honestly, I’m not sure how I’ve survived this long without a buttery, flaky pie crust.  Especially now that fall has started to show its glorious face.  Sure, I could make a pie crust with vegan butter.  It’s just not really the same.

I decided I had had enough of the “no pie crust” thing and I decided I was going to make one.  The problem was that I didn’t actually have any vegan butter left.  Instead of letting the sadness get me down, I improvised.

Oil, while an acceptable substitute for a pie crust, didn’t really give the same consistency I usually use for my pies.  I’m sure it would have been fine, but I’m picky.  So, I decided to use my experimental crust for my dinner instead.

This tart could be a main meal, it is hearty and protein packed.  It could also be turned into an appetizer by pressing the crust into a muffin tin and making mini pies for people to snag and eat.  Really, it’s one of those recipes that you can do anything with.  And you should.  Go wild.  I did, and see how it worked for me?

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And because I was so excited about the glorious smell of the crust, I forgot to take a picture.  Enjoy one of Brian instead!

Herbed Oil Tart Crust
Makes one crust.  Double recipe if you would like a top crust.

Preheat oven to 375*.

  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Herbs- I used Rosemary, Marjoram, and Basil because it’s what I grabbed.  Use what you like!
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 4-5 Tablespoons Cold Water

Combine the flour, salt and herbs in a bowl.  Add the oil and about 4 Tablespoons of water.  Stir it together with a fork, it will be crumbly.  Incorporate all of the liquid, adding a little more water if needed.  You want it to be moist, if it is too dry it crumbles when you try to work with it.

Once the dough is fairly mixed, feel free to mush it around with your hands!  It’s fun to get messy.  Press the dough flat, by hand if you like. I used a rolling pin to roll it just less than 1/4 inch thick.  Place your filling in the center and fold the edges part way over the filling, leaving the top open.  It’s rustic!

Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Remove and cut into quarters.  Dig in.

 

Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Filling

  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Chickpeas
  • Herbs- I used Marjoram, Parsley, Cumin, and whatever else I had in my cabinet that smelled good
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil

Cut the eggplant into rounds, then quarters.  Cut the tomatoes in half, then slice them into wedges.

Heat the oil, garlic, and spices on medium and add the eggplant and onion.  Let that cook for a while, stirring occasionally.  Be careful with your gorgeous eggplant, don’t mush it.  Once the eggplant is mostly cooked through, add the tomatoes and chickpeas.  Continue cooking until it is just warmed through.

At this point you can do any number of things.  Bake it as a tart using the recipe listed above*, turn it into a soup by adding vegetable broth and simmering, stuff a pita or eat it as it is.  Mmmm.

 

Vegetable Gravy*

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter Substitute
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Better than Bouillon (I used vegetable, but you can use the vegetarian chicken or beef one if you’d prefer)
  • Pepper

Make a roux by melting the butter substitute over medium heat.  Add the flour and stir for about a minute making sure the butter and flour combine and you do not burn the flour.

Add the hot water and bouillon and stir or whisk.  Once it thickens to the consistency you like, remove from heat.  Crack some fresh pepper over the top and serve over the Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Tart.

*If you’d prefer your tart without gravy, you may want to add some moisture to the eggplant and tomatoes while you are cooking them.  I’d suggest adding about 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and letting that cook down a bit before adding to your tart crust.  It’s a little dry without the gravy.